Techniques for performance estimation in parallel database systems are well established for parameters such as throughput, bottlenecks and resource utilisation. However, response time estimation is a complex activity which is difficult to predict and has attracted research for a number of years. Simulation is one option for predicting response time but this is a costly process. Analytical modelling is a less expensive option but requires approximations and assumptions about the queueing networks built up in real parallel database machines which are often questionable and few of the papers on analytical approaches are backed by results from validation against real machines. This paper describes a new analytical approach for response time estimation that is based on a detailed study of different approaches and assumptions. The approach has been validated against two commercial parallel DBMSs running on actual parallel machines and is shown to produce acceptable accuracy.